Štítnik – Our Lady Church

History

   The first church in Štítnik was built in the 13th century, and in the first quarter of the 14th century, its thorough reconstruction took place. The church was adapted to a more representative form, at the initiative of the lords of Štítnik, the Četnek family. It had to reflect the wealth and strength of the family. In the third quarter of the fourteenth century, the church was re-transformed, the interior was decorated with polychromes, ceilings were vaulted, and the chancel received a polygonal, gothic ending.
  
At the beginning of the 15th century, when the town owners were in the court of king Sigismund, the basilica was further extended to include the southern and northern chapels. It seems that the construction was interrupted by stormy events after the king’s death, including the fight against John Jiskra and bratrzyk rebels. Studies have shown that during this period the church was seriously damaged. This was especially true of the tower, from which only the walls remained to the height of the second floor. Repairs were carried out at the beginning of the sixteenth century. In 1740, the tower was additionally reinforced with a wooden superstructure and a typically baroque wooden roof. At that time the church served Evangelicals who took it during the Reformation in the mid-sixteenth century. A thorough renovation of the church took place in the years 1899-1908, followed by the second phase, between 1909 and 1914. Corrections and further work were carried out in the 1950s.

Architecture

   The original church from the 13th century was a single-nave construction with a square chancel and a tower on the western side, which was then a free-standing structure. In the first half of the fourteenth century, the nave was extended westwards to the tower. Inside the new part, a matroneum was erected, and the sacristy was added from the north side of the chancel.
    In the second half of the fourteenth century, the church was rebuilt into a three-nave basilica with a larger than previously chancel, which received a gothic, polygonal closure. Interiors received rib vaults. The last phase of medieval works was the addition of a northern and southern chapel in the 15th century. Created in the fourteenth and fifteenth century, fresco decorations are the largest preserved example of ancient wall painting in Slovakia. The church also has the oldest organ in Slovakia, which dates from the end of the fifteenth century.

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bibliography:
Website apsida.sk, Štítnik.